There comes and time when you would want to take a break and get out for a change of scenery. None better than when Kia invited us to test out their 2016 Optima in Oman. Now that sounds like a quiet and a relaxing few days and explore the picturesque Oman and see what Kia has done to their already formidable Optima.
2016 Kia Optima Review
Kia’s task in upping the game from the 2015 Optima had to be a monumental task. Peter Schreyer, Audi’s former designer and now Chief Designer at Kia Motors, is the same person who designed the iconic Audi TT has the design language of Kia under his kitty. The evolution of Kia models under his tenure has been breaking barriers and has catapulted the South Korean brand into a design and technology led force into shaking the territory of lower and mid segment family vehicle once dominated by the Japanese.
Redesigning the 2016 Kia Optima seems to to be their biggest challenge but Kia’s promise to over deliver on their exterior design styling in a bid to win back customers who before shied away from the brand has been largely attained with the new Optima. The front end of the new Optima is essentially a carry over from the previous model albeit a slightly re-shaped front grill, the lower front bumper has been redesigned to include a vertical air vent and larger air intake ports. The New Optima gains 0.4 inches in length thanks mainly to an increase in the wheel base and is 1 inch wider and 0.5 inch tall, all put together in a clever package. 2.4 L naturally aspirated 4 banger carries over with some power upgrade and the fabulous new 2 L turbocharged which produces close to 240 horses. The new generation of these 2 L turbocharged found in different variants on the Focus ST and the Mercedes Benz A250 are light years ahead of what we thought a 2 L engine can do. The Optima carries this engine in a GT trim and is a segment first along with its sibling, the all new Hyundai Sonata.
The 2016 Kia Optima would be competing against the Toyota Camry and the Altima from Nissan in the Middle East. Kia knows a thing or two in giving extras, a lot of extras and in some cases they are the segment first in options such as wireless cell charger pad. The GT trim comes with contoured seats, and radar guided cruise controls. USB ports and a segment first wireless charging pad for the new Galaxy smart phones is a must have these days.
The interior of the Optima is ergonomically smart and carries traces of the design elements of an Audi. This is a good thing because you get a more European style while paying much less. Kia is adamant on giving more for less to its customers and they are heading in the right direction. Buyers in this region and in particular to the segment which Kia caters to are moving away from brand loyalty and seeking for a good deal.
Kia is a strong option with a great dealer and service network and warranty packages. Let’s talk more on the drive. Though the Optima GT is a fine specimen with a powerful engine it is not a true sports car, Kia is not targeting that with the Optima, but what it does provide is a quick gateway and a spirited drive which we like to encounter everyday. The ride is relaxed and does not over-react when pushed hard. Creature comforts such as ventilated seats, panoramic moon roofs add the touch of a more luxurious segment. It does make you happy and wise. We are at a time of great innovation and greater service. All cars these days are good, well almost all are, but Kia has taken steps in building from past mistakes. It is also clear that we see more Kia’s on the roads than before. But the Optima is a special vehicle, it looks smart, has a casual and fresh interior along with features that gives more bang for the hard earned buck. Buyers are becoming smarter and they know when a deal is good or great, Kia is all about a greater deal than the rest of the pack. The optima delivers in all counts, from overall styling and interior packing in this case. The car’s design also reflects a European style and at night it would be mistaken for a much more high end car. The rear LED lights of the Optima disguises what the car is all about. The 2016 Kia Optima is a must try for young adults and new families. It is quite hard to match the options on the Optima when you are comparing apples to apples, and couple it with a smooth drive the Optima is hard to beat.
Written by Samantha Sabah:
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Images from Kia:
Video | The All New Kia Optima